Noodles with Peanut Sauce

I was nursing a sore throat several days ago and I thought a nice warm bowl of noodles sounded like the perfect medicine for lunch one day.  This recipe did not disappoint.  I’ve read similar recipes to this one and they are served cold, so I’m sure this recipe would be great either way.  The veggies that you choose to use are totally interchangeable.  I used a bag of frozen “spring mix” stir fry veggies, but just bell peppers would be fine.

Noodles with Peanut Sauce

adapted from Betty Crocker Bridal Edition Cookbook, page 375

Ingredients:

8 ounces of egg, rice, or spaghetti noodles

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

2-3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tsp dried ginger

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth

1 Tbsp oil for stir frying

stir fry veggies of your choice – fresh or frozen

Optional Toppings:

peanuts

sliced green onions

chopped cilantro

Directions:

Cook noodles in boiling water as directed.

Stir the peanut butter, soy sauce, ginger, and pepper together with a whisk, gradually add the broth.  {This kinda takes forever because the peanut butter is so thick, but keep at it.}

Stir fry the veggies until crisp tender in a little oil in a large saute pan.  Add the cooked and drained pasta and the peanut butter sauce to the pan.  Toss to combine and coat.

Place in serving bowls and add topping if you choose.

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Pesto

Finally!  I found one lonely package of basil at the store.   I guess I have never tried to buy basil at the store before {especially in the winter} because I grow my own in the summer.  It is one of the few herbs I can successfully grow in my garden!

Anywho, I was finally able to make a batch of pesto that I have been craving for a few weeks!  I love to use pesto to just simply coat some pasta for a vegetarian meal as I am showing here {gnocchi}.  You can add grilled chicken breasts to the pasta if you chose, but it is definitely wonderful without.  Pizza sauce is another great use for pesto.  And also, the pasta with pesto is great hot or cold.  Enjoy!

Pesto

1 slightly packed cup of basil leaves

2 peeled garlic cloves

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/2 – 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

salt and a lot of black pepper

1/3 cup EVOO

Process the garlic, nuts, and basil in a food processor to make a paste.  Add the cheese and s&p and process some more.  Then stream in the EVOO while the processor is on.  Taste and adjust as needed with more s&p if needed.

If using as a pasta sauce, reserve some of the pasta’s cooking water to add as needed when mixing the pasta with the pesto.  It just makes for a smoother and evenly coated pasta dish.

Homemade Tomato Sauce

I have mentioned my homemade tomato sauce numerous times {here, here, and here}, so I thought its time to finally post the recipe. You can use this recipe just as it is, or just use the method and go ahead and adapt to your taste.  For example, add a diced carrot and/or celery stick and omit the onion and peppers…whatever you like is fine!  I happen to prefer it chunky and peppery, but you may not, so add more wine, broth or water to thin it out and omit the red pepper flakes, etc.

This makes a lot, but it freezes nicely.  And, I know you may be thinking that it is easier to open a jar of sauce from the grocery store, but those generally contain more sugar than necessary.  A homemade batch of sauce only contains exactly what you like and want and you can control the quality of ingredients.  If you freeze smaller portions of this, it is just as easy to use as reaching for a store bought jar.

If you are making this for kids, pregnant women, or are just avoiding alcohol for whatever reason, go ahead and substitute any kind of broth for the wine (even though the alcohol cooks out, you can’t be too careful).

DSC01515

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 bell pepper {any color}, diced

1 onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup red wine

one 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

one 28 oz can diced tomatoes, slightly drained if you like thick sauce

one 14.5 oz can tomato sauce

3 or 4 heaping tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tsp dried parsley

1 tsp dried basil

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste

pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a deep soup pot or dutch oven, saute bell pepper, onion and garlic in oil over medium heat for a few minutes or until slightly soft and starting to brown.  Add wine and scrape bottom of pan with wooden spoon.

Then add all of the tomatoes and stir well.  Bring to a simmer and taste.  Then add seasonings, and taste.  Continue to simmer at least another 20 minutes {1 hour is better}, taste again and adjust seasoning.  It will get thicker the longer it simmers.

At this point it is ready to serve over pasta if you like it chunky.  If not, you could use an immersion blender to puree it if you like a smoother sauce.

Or, cool it down and freeze in smaller containers.

Pictured above – I added meat to the sauce.  To do this, add ground sausage {sweet or hot} or hamburger to the pot with the onions, bell pepper and garlic.  Be sure to thoroughly brown the beef.  Drain, and then continue adding the tomatoes, etc…

Keep in mind that if you add meat, you won’t be able to blend it to a thinner consistency.